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article imageParalyzed man kicks off World Cup (video)

By Tim Sandle     Jun 14, 2014 in Sports
Juliano Pinto, a 29-year-old Brazilian man, wore a robotic suit linked to brain-machine interface (BMI) and nudged a soccer ball with his foot at the Sao Paulo’s Corinthians Arena, to kick-off the World Cup.
The kicking of the soccer ball by Pinto was groundbreaking in terms of the sporting event and as a scientific breakthrough. Wearing an exoskeleton that relayed signals from his brain to his legs, Juliano Pinto, who has complete paralysis of his lower trunk, performed the ceremonial first kick of the international sporting event. Shortly afterwards the first match between host nation Brazil and Croatia got underway.
The amazing feat is captured in the video below:
Agence France-Presse reports that Pinto's suit included an electroencephalogram (EEG) cap containing electrodes that magnified nervous impulses from his brain and sent them to processors that decoded the signals and then relayed them to hydraulics that moved the exoskeleton strapped to his legs.
According to NBC News, the small gesture was the culmination of years of research. Straight after, Miguel Nicolelis, the Duke University neuroscientist who headed the team of researchers that worked on the project, tweeted "We did it!!!!”
Nicolelis subsequently issued a statement from the Walk Again Project, the international consortium of researchers and funders behind the work: "It was a great team effort, and I would like to especially highlight the eight patients who devoted themselves intensively to this day. It was up to Juliano to wear the exoskeleton, but all of them made that shot. It was a big score by these people and by our science."
More about World Cup, Paralyzed, Football, Soccer, Brazil
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